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Who can you give power of attorney?

Posted on November 17, 2017

The future is an uncertain thing. So, there are many concerns you may have about it. This includes concerns that a medical condition you have or are at risk for may someday cause you to be unable to make decisions for yourself.

If this occurs, another person will be tasked with making decisions for you. There are planning steps that can be taken to set up who this person would be in advance. One of the main ones is setting up powers of attorney. Power of attorney documents allow a person to grant another person the authority to make certain decisions for him or her. This authority could be given right away, or could be set to trigger at a specific time, such as upon incapacity.

There Are Many Options for Who to Pick

Who can you give such authority? Almost anyone in your life. As a NerdWallet article notes, the two main requirements for a power of attorney agent are that he or she be of sound mind and a legal adult.

Also, as we noted in a previous post, you could give all the decision-making authority to one person, or divide it up among multiple people.

Why your pick matters

The person you grant power of attorney could one day make very big decisions in your life. If you have granted them financial power of attorney, this could include asset decisions that could have significant impacts on your financial well-being. If you have granted them medical power of attorney, this could include healthcare decisions that could have very long-lasting ramifications for you.

Given this, the decision of who to grant power of attorney to is no minor one.

Trust Is Key

So, while the list of who you could give power of attorney to can be long, the list of who it would be a good idea to give this authority to could be much shorter. Given how much power this individual could end up holding when it comes to your affairs, it is important to choose someone you trust.

Some things to think about when considering who to pick are:

  • Who do you most trust?
  • Who would be able to best handle the responsibilities this role would involve?
  • Who would be most likely to make decisions consistent with your wishes?

Having a Backup

Now, there is always the chance that something will happen that will make it so the person that you choose to give power attorney to will be unable to serve this role. So, it is important to know that backup choices can be named in power of attorney documents. As with your primary choice, it can be important to give careful thought to who to pick as a backup.